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Myanmar turns down tax rise proposal

| March 14, 2014

Myanmar’s Union Parliament has rejected a private member’s bill proposing a 200 percent tax increase on tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, according to an Eleven story.

MEPs voted instead to maintain the current “vice tax” rates, which amount to 100 percent on cigarettes and 50 percent on other tobacco products and alcohol.

In submitting her proposal, National League for Democracy MP Khin San Hlaing said the number of drinkers was on the rise in Myanmar, resulting in more crimes and alcohol-related health problems. Tobacco usage, she added, increased health care costs.

“If we want to reduce the local consumption of such products, we need to impose more taxes on them. If we want more consumption, we should decrease the tax,” she said.

“[Tobacco products and alcoholic drinks] are very dangerous for future generations of the country. We should impose more tax on them as an effort to put a stop to consumption. I propose that we increase the tax to 200 percent for the sake of the national interest.”

New e-liquid addresses vapor concerns

| March 14, 2014

JAC Vapour has launched an e-liquid that emits no vapor when exhaled, according to a company press note issued through PRNewswire.

The company described Clear Steam as being the first British-made, branded e-liquid that emitted no vapor.

It said the innovative product could revolutionize vaping in public spaces.

Existing e-liquids emit a visible vapor when puffed by e-cigarette consumers, something that has led to calls for the use of these devices to be banned in public places, as has happened in the case of cigarettes and cigars.

JAC says Clear Steam has the same strength, flavor and throat hit as does its other e-liquids.

E-cigarette patents battle heats up

| March 14, 2014

Fontem Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.K.-based Imperial Tobacco, has filed patents suits in California against nine U.S. e-cigarette suppliers, including the top three—Lorillard’s Blu Ecigs, NJOY and Logic—which together account for about 80 percent of the $2 billion U.S. market, according to a Financial Times story by Duncan Robinson in London and Shannon Bond in New York.

Several other of the companies named, including Fin Branding, CB Distributors, Ballantyne Brands and Vapor Corp., are said to be among the top 10 in share of retail sales.

Robinson and Bond commented that big tobacco companies were relatively slow to enter the e-cigarette market, but said they were making up for lost time by using their size and financial firepower to take over a market that, while worth $3 billion globally, was still dominated by smaller players.

The full story is at

New leaf processing alliance in Turkey

| March 13, 2014

Alliance One’s Turkish subsidiary and Öz-Ege have formed a joint-venture processing and storage facility in Turkey.

Under the agreement, Alliance One Tütün and Öz-Ege Tütün will each contract with Oryantal Tütün Paketleme Sanayi for oriental tobacco processing and storage, while continuing to maintain separate farmer contracting, agronomy, buying and selling operations.

Oryantal Tütün’s facility is at Torbali, Izmir.

“To drive improved value for our customers, we have developed this processing and storage joint venture in our modern efficient facility,” said Mahmut Özgener, chairman of Öz-Ege’s board of directors. “We look forward to the mutual benefits with AOT that this joint venture solidifies.”

Meanwhile, Christian Cypher, Alliance One’s regional director for Europe, described Öz-Ege as a strong partner and said that together the two companies were focused on a strategic alliance that would further strengthen and provide viability for the “Turkish oriental market and the dedicated Turkish oriental farmer.”

Kazakhstan plan something to chew on

| March 13, 2014

The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has supported a proposal by Kazakhstan’s health ministry to ban the use of smokeless tobacco products (nasvai, snuff and chewing tobacco) in the Customs Union countries of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, according to a story in The Times of Central Asia.

The Times quoted a Novosti-Kazakhstan report that, oddly, cited the National Coalition “For Kazakhstan Free of Tobacco Smoke.”

The coalition said the EEC had supported the arguments of Kazakhstan’s health ministry concerning the huge social and medical damage caused by the use of such products, and of the necessity of banning them. It added that the use of such tobacco products was causing an increasing incidence of throat, tongue and nasal cancers.

The stance of the Kazakh health ministry is said to have been supported by the health ministries of Russia and Belarus.

The most popular smokeless tobacco product in Kazakhstan and other Central Asia countries is nasvai.

The typical ingredients for nasvai is tobacco dust, gum, slaked lime, water and oil. It also can contain chemical flavorings and colorings.

A pellet is usually placed in the mouth for 10 to 15 minutes.

Three new Seven Stars in the firmament

| March 13, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. is due to launch three new versions of its Seven Stars brand, one of the most popular in Japan.

The company says that from mid-April Seven Stars Menthol 12 Box, Seven Stars Menthol 8 Box and Seven Stars Menthol 5 Box (the numbers indicate tar deliveries), will offer consumers the choice of cigarettes with a “deep aroma and rich taste,” achieved by using a blend that includes “ripened tobacco leaves.”

The ripened leaves are said to be characterized by their “deep roasted aroma, sharp flavor and rich smoke sensation,” adding depth to the product’s flavor and aroma as well as enhancing its menthol taste.

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